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Lockdown Politics -- the Great Travesty
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Nearly one year into the COVID pandemic, even a modicum of critical thinking should tell us that lockdown politics as practiced in the United States is an unmitigated disaster, and with no end in sight. The reference here to lockdown politics is meant to signify a particularly assaultive, tyrannical set of government policies that in less than a year have brought severe harm to millions, more likely tens of millions of Americans and others across the world. Sadly, a Joe Biden presidency is only bound to aggravate this already intolerable repression and misery.

One grievous problem with the lockdown mania is that by obsessively fixating on the virus, a power-mad elite has ignored what must drive any public intervention: the need for a comprehensive, detailed cost-benefit analysis informing social policy. Stale rhetoric about “following the science” turns out to be not only one dimensional and useless, yet it remains a justification for continuing mass shutdowns, in state after state. The worst consequences include millions of lost jobs and businesses, escalating poverty, record numbers of bankruptcies, educational chaos, new health crises, a sharp rise in addictions and myriad psychological problems.

Meanwhile, it has become abundantly clear that lockdown rules – the very rules overlooked at times of street demonstrations and upheavals – apply only to Trump supporters, the great “super-spreaders”, wherever they gather. Those arbitrary directives have been cynically used by Democratic governors, mayors, and their health czars as a dictatorial political weapon – in part to bolster their own power, in part to subvert Trump’s second presidential run. For them, the pandemic is welcomed as a godsend, to be leveraged for a “global reset” on the road to maximum power, an incipient fascism. What we have here is what C. Wright Mills long ago called the “higher immorality” in his classic The Power Elite.

Entirely predictable fallouts from months of destructive lockdowns were recently acknowledged by even the staid World Health Organization, which urged a worldwide end to the shutdowns – a message, however, never processed by an insular political/medical/media establishment in the U.S. The WHO projects a future of intensified global poverty, food insecurity, disease spread, and other health crises so long as the lockdown remains in place. Food-supply chains have already been harshly disrupted from the combined effects of COVID and harmful government controls. What leading Democrats such as Berkeley professor Robert Reich and California Governor Gavin Newsom commonly (and senselessly) refer to as an “inconvenience” will, as WHO leaders stress, bring added impoverishment to possibly hundreds of millions of people in lesser-developed nations already trapped in endless cycles of social misery. Such damage scarcely registers across the corporate media, where the horrors are casually written off as “collateral damage”.

The WHO warning has been reaffirmed by thousands of medical professionals and scientists aligned with the “Great Barrington Declaration” – a well-grounded denunciation of the lockdown politics that retains a dogmatic hold on Biden and the Dems. The “Declaration” was orchestrated by three world-respected scientists: Jay Bhatticharya of Stanford, Martin Kulldorf of Harvard, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford. Their message, drawn from a painstaking assemblage of international research, is clear and urgent – end draconian restrictions in favor of “focused protection”, which sensibly allows those (the vast majority) at minimum risk of extreme sickness to return to normal social lives. Those least threatened (under age 50) have a 99.98 likelihood of surviving any bout with COVID – less risky than the ordinary flu. The “Barrington” scientists urge a shift toward what in fact has been the historical norm for virus-mitigation: policies taking into account the full range of economic and social as well as medical factors, logically necessary to curtail the amount of total harm.

The nonstop political/media fearmongering behind mass shutdowns assumes, wrongly, that this particular virus (unlike most others) can somehow be banished from human existence, never to return. They further believe, against all logic and experience, that lockdowns must be imposed until a vaccine is discovered and administered (by mandate?) to entire populations, the ostensible goal being some type of general immunity. Generally forgotten is the poor efficacy of so many vaccines that are promoted as uniform remedies. In fact a vaccine has long been available for influenza, yet the success rate hovers between 20 and 60 percent while hundreds of thousands of people die yearly (roughly 650,000 on average) across the world from that stubborn virus.

The lofty medical experts have little to say, moreover, about the state of public health in general. In the U.S., deaths for 2018 totaled nearly three million, with heart disease (655,000) and cancer (600,000) topping the list. What particularly stands out, however, are the mortality levels for all respiratory diseases, including influenza and pneumonia (both viral and bacterial): roughly 220,000, close to the yearly average and little more than the current COVID death toll. Never in 2018 nor at any time in the past has any government, health, or media figure called for mass lockdowns to either “flatten the curve” or “destroy the virus” in response to such health challenges. Not even a murmur in that direction, much less moral panic.

No moral panic either, when it comes to such health catastrophes as drug addiction, severe reactions, and overdose deaths. In the U.S., overdose deaths (the majority from pharmaceuticals) rose from 39,000 in 2010 to 70,000 by 2017, while opioid fatalities alone increased from 21,000 in 2010 to more than 48,000 by 2018 – trends met with deafening silence across the media, its revenues enriched by nonstop Big Pharma advertising. The journal Lancet recently (October 24th) reported that overdose deaths globally have risen more than 20 percent from combined mental and physical traumas resulting more from the lockdowns than the pandemic itself.

Just as revealing is the irresponsible failure of “experts” to consult the abundance of relevant historical experience. To start: what might we conclude from the great 1957-58 Asian flu pandemic – a horrific disease that, in the U.S., was greeted with . . . business-as-usual? It was said that this virus infected more people than even the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed up to 50 million people. While data collection in the 1950s was rather shaky, American deaths alone were estimated at 120,000 with a fatality rate of 0.67 percent, far worse than for present-day COVID. More shocking, global Asian flu deaths were reported in the range of between one and four million – now equivalent to possibly ten million deaths when considering a near tripling of the world population since the late 1950s. That could mean as much as nine times the world COVID mortality count today (about 1.3 million, if that count is not wildly exaggerated). Do we need to mention here that the Asian flu provoked no moral panic, no mass lockdowns, few (and only very brief) school closings?

Nor does the lockdown fanaticism survive any serious present-day comparative scrutiny. Two of the strictest lockdown countries – the U.S. and Britain – rank among the very worst in deaths per million population. According to Statista, the numbers are 700 and 732 respectively. Other states with the most extreme authoritarian practices follow: Italy at 686 per million, France at 595, Spain at a world-record 824. Compare these dreadful numbers to those of countries that refused total lockdowns, that relied more on compliance than on force: Japan at 15 per million, Cuba at 12, South Korea at 9.4, China at 3.4, Vietnam at 0.36 (with no cases in the past 200 days), Taiwan at 0.25. Even much-castigated, lockdown-free Sweden, at more than 500 deaths per million (though few in the past month) ranks far better than the U.S. and most European countries. And Sweden’s economy remains fully intact, with minimal social harm from power-hungry governing authorities.

In Japan, after somewhat brief and sporadic closures for an initial state of emergency, daily life has essentially returned to normal – shops, restaurants, bars, museums, cinemas, gyms, and schools now mostly open, internal travel restrictions lifted. In contrast to the U.S., there has been no media fear-based propaganda, thus no social or political overreach. In Tokyo, any talk of mass lockdowns has been fiercely resisted. With a population of 127 million settled in densely-concentrated cities, Japan has seen coronavirus deaths (early November) limited to 1600, fewer than most American states.

The Vietnam experience could be more impressive yet: with a large urban population of nearly 100 million, COVID deaths so far number only 35. After some initial travel restrictions and brief local quarantines, no serious nationwide lockdowns have been ordered. Relying on social compliance instead of institutional force – like many Asian countries – the Vietnamese have deftly and creatively managed disease outbreaks in much the same way they have routinely dealt with influenza. The availability of universal healthcare, as in Japan and elsewhere, offers resources far less expensive and more inaccessible than in the U.S., but that is hardly the full story. The lessons from Japan and Vietnam demonstrate that lockdown despotism is not only seriously misguided but drastically counterproductive, vastly more harmful than helpful.

Similar comparisons hold for individual states in the U.S. Thus New York, a Democratic state with probably the longest, most severe lockdown regime, has a disastrous record of more than 33,000 deaths for a population of roughly 20 million, exactly double the numbers for Republican Florida (16,900 fatalities) with its 22 million inhabitants. The media, however, has chosen to heap praise on New York and its brutally inept governor Mario Cuomo while bashing Florida and its Republican governor Ron DeSantis.

The lockdown mania remains an unmitigated calamity for American society – an avoidable travesty feverishly stoked by every major center of power: Big Pharma, the tech giants, deep state, Wall Street along with Democrats and their media publicists. With the likely ascendancy of Biden to the White House, surrounded as he is by a wide circle of Strangelovian medical “advisers” embedded in those very centers of power, any radical departure from the American pattern of coercion and failure now seems hard to imagine. Sadly, while these elites love to speak about “listening to the scientists”, they are among the least inclined to follow actual historical and comparative experience. Theirs is an oligarchic, authoritarian system of rule.

• Category: Science • Tags: Coronavirus, Disease 
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  1. East Asian countries are also being primed for the “Great Reset” “New Normal”, but with more underhanded ways of coercion (what the writer calls “social compliance”) since they have strong traditions of Confucian social order to be worked with. The fear level isn’t less, it’s greater since social conformity leads to muted voices of resistance (the city I live in has virtually no mask dissenters, being one of the places most seriously hit by SARS in 2003. Partly prudence, partly fear, and total conformism). This way East Asians will swallow custom-flavored “Great Reset” crap with digital Yuans and Yens instead of FedCoins and digital Euros, indigenous vaccine candidates made compulsory, and health codes floating all around, not to say too many cold Zoom meetings.
    I frankly see no place to run to except off the grid.

    (p.s. China “gets” back to their version of normalcy because of their “health code”, the exact same things as revealed in a WEF tweet and being rolled out in Britain. They have a HUGE stake in the “Great Reset” for being pioneers for much of the repressive and dislocating technologies.)

  2. What the entire world need is disobedience. The worlds people need to go on strike till this bullshit is lifted AND the perpetrators of this nonsense are dealt with by firing their asses and making sure no one ever hires them again. The politicians in office world wide should be summarily voted out, every last one.

    • Agree: Lost American, meamjojo
    • Replies: @meamjojo
    , @Rufus Clyde
  3. “Cost-benefit analysis”
    Translation. Some people must die.

    • Replies: @u2gt
    , @Wielgus
  4. WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT HAPPENING. The powers to be would enjoy exterminating 10-30 % f their populations if they had the chance. But in that effort how much of the exterminators would die?

  5. meamjojo says:

    Voters had the opportunity in the USA recently to vote out all the incumbent politicians at all levels from local to national who stood-up for or didn’t fight against the CV19 lockdowns/restrictions.

    Yet I don’t think that many were removed form office. It is hard to convince the sheeple to vote in their own interest.

    • Replies: @Joe Paluka
  6. onebornfree says: • Website

    Two options I see here:

    1] Get rid of the federal government entirely [best option, although entirely impractical, given the brainwashed mindset of the majority] ………or…..

    2] at the very least [as a short-term possible partial solution], Lockdown the federal government, all of it, by the chains of the constitution, NOW!

    On this option [2] see: “Why Government Doesn’t Work”

    Reminder : “Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be “reformed”or “improved”,simply because of their innate criminal nature.” onebornfree

    Regards, onebornfree

    • LOL: davidgmillsatty
    • Replies: @davidgmillsatty
  7. @onebornfree

    You have been severely smitten by the anarchy bug. Maybe time for a self imposed quarantine.

  8. @RoatanBill

    All evidence points to the majority of the population where I live welcoming the socio-economic restrictions, dislocations and disruptions. The young and dumb who lost their jobs in the already teetering service economy were happy to get the UBI, and now that they’ve turned off the welfare tap, the goal of inculcating people with the ridiculous beliefs about Covidmania has already been achieved. When are elite perpetrators ever held accountable for their crimes, or failures?

  9. No mention in this article of the most perverse set of lock-downs in the Empire, that in the state of Victoria, Australia. It is being touted as a smashing success and the inspiration for all manner of bats*#t crazy policy here in Canada. The local civic authorities are screeching for a “circuit-breaker” lockdown. It seems that at least once a month, a new piece of Covid jargon is introduced as part of “loading the language”. The Covid propaganda campaign entails every one of Robert Lifton’s criteria for Thought Reform, and most people don’t seem to be the least bit bothered by it.
    “The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis.”

  10. zimriel says:

    Anyone with the remotest understanding of virus families may quit reading here: “Generally forgotten is the poor efficacy of so many vaccines that are promoted as uniform remedies. In fact a vaccine has long been available for influenza,”

    Influenza is a sloppy virus that constantly mutates into strains which evade vaccines. CoVID-19, although it also mutates, is a tight sphere that doesn’t change much between mutations, at least not such as matters. The proposed vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are both 90+% effective as a result.

    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
  11. Influenza viruses are not tight spheres? That last explantion for the Moderna and Pfizer vacccine effectiveness doesn’t even merit a reponse. Keep on derping!

  12. Well written article if deliberately misleading, the reason for limited lockdowns is to stop the health system becoming overwhelmed and ceasing to function for everyone else, its that simple and you never mention it 🙂

    NO ONE is proposing lockdowns all the time, governments are reluctant to instigate them as it is so harmful to society that’s why they are imposed when the rates of infection continue to rise rapidly closely followed by the deaths.

  13. Doly says:

    “Meanwhile, it has become abundantly clear that lockdown rules – the very rules overlooked at times of street demonstrations and upheavals – apply only to Trump supporters”

    Nope. They apply to everyone. In fact, they apply to everyone who lives in a country with coronavirus, that these days is every country except a few remote islands. Everybody is supposed to follow their country’s rules, and rules are fairly similar among countries.

    Now, it just happens that in the USA, a particular political faction has unilaterally decided the rules should not apply to them, because they have decided that public health absolutely should be a political matter.

    So what do they do? They recommend that their supporters ignore the rules totally, while behaving like total snitches with people of the “other” team, no matter how much they defend freedom for their team to do whatever they like. So, if somebody in the “other” team commits a minor infraction, that should be put all over the Internet, like if somebody attends a small private dinner. When “their” team does human sacrifices (literally) on summer solstice (literally) in a megachurch (literally) by demanding that they flout all the rules and forgive all liability whatsoever if anybody gets sick, that gets a free pass.

    When and where did the other team do a massive indoor event without masks? Never. So, hey, it looks like they follow the rules. You got it exactly the other way around. The rules only apply to those that don’t support Trump. Trump supporters get a free pass because, hey, the support the boss. They are special. Non-Trump supporters must follow every rule, because you will happily snitch on them, and they must know their place, second-class citizens with no rights.

    Because the important thing is your right to screw everyone because you want to. And to rub it on our faces. You are on a total power trip, and you love the notion of being Death to others. In your own country, and in others who may be unfortunate enough to share a language with you.

  14. u2gt says:

    Oh seriously. People die all the time. We accept “cost-benefit” with traffic deaths, and the regular flu. It’s normal. Covid is not that much worse except for a certain group of people. We are mere mortals. Deal with it. Get on with your life and stop being so fearful. The virus response is proof govt has gone full tilt insane.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  15. Wielgus says:

    Some people’s deaths as a result of lockdown (suicides, despair from loneliness, economic crashes etc.) seem to be treated as acceptable collateral damage by the partisans of lockdown.
    Reactions to Covid are taking quite a toll on civil liberties as well, which were not in great condition even before all this.

  16. Rahan says:

    Relying on social compliance instead of institutional force – like many Asian countries – the Vietnamese have deftly and creatively managed disease outbreaks in much the same way they have routinely dealt with influenza.

    Lots of people refuse to look at East Asia as a whole, and pretend that only China has COVID under control, and thus it’s a Chinese conspiracy in the first place.
    Listened to Scott Adams babbling about this earlier today. When he talks of US politics he can be very persuasive, but once he starts talking about the external world his IQ plummets by half.
    “Tell us your secret, China, or we are in a state of war!!!11!!” Cringe.
    Go to Vietnam or Korea for a week and figure it out yourself, buddy.

  17. I’m always glad to see another article critical of the Kung Flu PanicFest stupidity here on unz. (Thank you, Ron, for being fair!)

    That was quite a few solid numbers from Mr. Boggs illustrating that this COVID-19 is no Black Plague 2.0. However, Mr. Boggs makes the same mistake, or shows the same lack of understanding, as lots of people: It doesn’t matter if this WERE the Black Plague 2.0. It’s not a matter to me of whether the numbers DO justify these tyrannical LOCKDOWNS. There is no call for this type of thing in (what was) a Constitutional Republic!

    C’mon, man, if things were that bad, do you not think that people would be locking themselves inside, closing up their houses, and hunkering down with their beans, bullets and band-aids? Imagine if on your block with 15 residences, there have already been 3 deaths, of people of all ages, not just those elderly with lots of health problems already. You would be freaked out enough to lock yourself and your family down.

    No government need be involved in ANY of this stuff, though a simple statistics-gathering outfit is not something I have a big problem with. Speak of that, meaning the WHO, it’s too bad people never listened to the REAL WHO:

  18. @Reality bites

    You lie! That was the story from back in March, and it was supposed to be a few weeks or a month. We need to not bother the doctors, nurses, and hospitals for little stuff, like heart catheters, colonoscopies, etc, so that the hospitals won’t be overwhelmed. Overwhelmed, I tells ya’!

    Well that didn’t happen, except in NY City, due to its having widespread contagion due to heavy travel back and forth to China, and a medical system that is approaching a 3rd world tower of Babel. Portions of hospitals where I live and where I’ve traveled were closed down, on through part of the summer. There was no overwhelming of anything.

    Once people have been cowed into LOCKDOWN once, it can be pulled out any time some government wants. This is a term that 10 years ago was only used in regard to maximum security prisons. It will be taken out of the Totalitarian bag of tools again, mark my words.

    I’m not wearing a mask (up to the point of being fired, cause I like this job), and I’ve already raised a little hell at the elementary school where they can no longer play tag at recess, OUTSIDE! and sharing is no longer nice.. Sharing is DANGEROUS now.

    What are you doing to the children, you totalitarian fucks like Reality Bites?!

    • Agree: Joseph Doaks, Adam Smith
  19. @zimriel

    How about a link or two for reference? I’d be particularly interested in anything on a scientific site where details are provided concerning when and how the “covid19” virus was ever isolated, captured in an image with an electron microscope and sequenced.

    What you’re saying is nonsensical, and reads exactly like the kind of pronouncements made on threads here by people who have no proof at all.

  20. @meamjojo

    It’s hard to vote against the supporters of Covid lockdowns when up to 80 million false votes were cast.

  21. anaccount says:
    @Reality bites

    But your post doesn’t account for the total failure of lock down policies and thats according to the very same (bullshit) data served up by your corporate news channel.

    This is the most worthless post I’ve ever made because either you’re a shill or another devolved and craven mask person. Its clear that most people in my town want to be fag gagged and abused.

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